2016 Reflections

I don’t know about you, but for me, 2016 was a year of exhilarating highs and very discouraging lows. I often say I make a lot of mistakes, but never the same mistake twice. I learned a lot of lessons the hard way this year and I won’t be repeating those mistakes. But this post is not about re-hashing my struggles and challenges. I had a lot of great experiences this year and I’d like to end 2016 on a high note, celebrating the happy achievements and sweet successes that will stay with me longer than the sting of disappointments. So join me for a little New Year’s Eve reminiscing, won’t you?

1. A Feature on Style Me Pretty

It’s still a thrill to see my bride Ally and her beautiful Room 1520 wedding featured on Style Me Pretty, thanks to the gorgeous photography of Betsi Ewing. I loved absolutely everything about this wedding, you really have to read the feature for all the gorgeous details!  Trying to pick favorite images is almost impossible, but here are my top three:


2. A fantastic Milwaukee wedding 

Another thing I say a lot is that I have the best brides, because I DO. I am grateful for each and every one. But some are especially dear to my heart, and Jenna is one of them. She was the manager at the Starbucks I frequented every day when I was still in the corporate world, and she cheered me on during my career highs and lows, pregnancy and maternity leave and subsequent dive into the world of freelance bridal makeup. She booked me for her wedding 2 years in advance, and over the course of her hair and makeup trials I got to meet all the women in her family and fall under their spell. What an amazing and fun group of people! Her beautiful wedding in Milwaukee was a definite highlight of my 2016 season. Bellow Blue Photography captured so many breathtaking moments! Jenna, thank you for letting me be a part of this magical day. You are the best.



3. First a sweet bridesmaid, then a radiant bride

There is no higher compliment than when a bridesmaid contacts me and says it’s her turn to walk down the aisle, and asks me to work with her on her wedding day. Julia got married on a beautiful day in early summer in the heart of Chicago. We started the day prepping her wonderful family and friends (who had met the year before at her friend Claire’s wedding, and I dare you to find a lovelier group of girls) and then they took photos in Millennium Park before an enchanted reception at the University Club of Chicago. I also got to meet Julia’s mom and sister at her hair trial (makeup for this wedding by Ryan Jaeger), so I felt like we were old chums by wedding day, and I just love that. 2016 was a year of great families! Lucky for me, the whole day was documented by Avery House!


4. Master Class with Anthony Gordon

In October I was thrilled to attend an intensive hands-on class with The Makeup Man himself, Anthony Gordon. Anthony has been a professional makeup artist in Hollywood for decades, and brought his amazing range of skills to us Midwestern artists and it was a day I will never forget. We were challenged to create 3 iconic looks from 3 different eras, 1940’s Glamour, 1960’s Mod, and Chinese Opera (!)and I was stretched wayyyy beyond my comfort zone. I learned so much and was reminded of how important it is to continue to seek out quality education and always be pushing myself creatively. Thanks to Your Name Pro Cosmetics for bringing Anthony to Chicago, Sonia Roselli for hosting the class  (I got to meet so many other working pros, like Cass Barron pictured with her model) and to the fantastic Ben Fink for capturing so many cool images from the day. Thanks also to my dear friend Shannon for being my model for the day!




5.Trials as Try-Outs

To be honest, one of the challenges of 2016 has been facing up to how the makeup industry is changing. There is more competition than ever before, and I am choosing to embrace that fact as motivation to work harder than ever. In years past, clients would book me for their wedding and then we would schedule their trial so we could collaborate on a wedding look. Now, with so many options to choose from, brides are very particular (as they should be!) and want to make sure they find the right artist by doing their trial BEFORE booking. So a trial is truly a try-out to see if I can achieve the look they want, and if I am the right artist for them. Although I am not a competitive person by nature, I do get a rush when I meet these potential brides and have to demonstrate my skills and make a genuine connection with them. Happily, I have “Passed” every try-out and been booked!

6. High Standards, Happy Customers

Another highlight of this season was Claudia’s wedding. She was my first “trial as try-out” and she warned me she had high standards, and I enjoyed meeting them. That her bridal bouquet was almost exactly like mine only cemented my idea of her having impeccable taste. I did makeup for her mom, aunt, sister and friend, while Magnificent Brides provided beautiful hair styling. Aside from the laughs we shared, one of my favorite moments was when her sister-in-law who had opted to do her own makeup (beautifully!) pulled me aside and said she was impressed with my work and wished she had gotten in on the fun! Thanks to Natalie Probst for the beautiful images from this day!


7. Being Featured on Glossible

As I said previously, 2016 has brought the realization that the beauty industry is changing. One pro leading the charge to maintain industry standards of artistic quality, professional conduct and overall integrity is Sonia Roselli. Not only is she one of THE top artists in Chicago (I do not exaggerate when I say I looked up to 2 people as I was getting started, Sonia and Bobbi Brown) debuted a game-changing skin care line created in Japan and the most sinfully soft brushes I’ve ever worked with (hello, Nudes!) but she has created a forum where makeup artists can gather to learn from each other, and this resource has helped me immensely this year. To be featured for my work with bride Ally on Glossible in the artist showcase was a true high point for me this year. Sonia, you have given me the fuel to keep going, stronger than ever in 2017!


Well friends, those are my lucky 7. I wanted to end this year focusing on what has been great, and resolving to learn from ALL my experiences. Thanks for sharing in this journey with me, and CHEERS to 2017!



Hello Again & Style Swap!

Hi ladies,

It’s been a really busy Spring (it is Spring, right?) and for that I am so grateful. It thrills me to spend my weekends jetting around the city and suburbs, glamming up brides and brides-to-be, high school seniors, actors…anyone who will let me play with their face! I really do love what I do. I’ve been largely absent from blogging, but here I sit on this Saturday, my only one for the next few months on which I do NOT have a wedding, trying to get back into the swing of writing.

I’ve been on Instagram a lot lately, posting phone pictures of my work, and I am on Facebook pretty frequently too, so make sure you check in with me there when you can, but I do miss doing more actual writing and staying in touch with all of you here! I have lots of pictures I’ve taken, new empties posts to write, tons of new products I’ve been picking up, new bridal pictures starting to flood in…basically, I have a lot of things to blog about, I just haven’t been sitting down to do the work!

This brief post is just to let you know that I’m still here, and to thank you for still reading–if there is one thing I struggle with in all areas of my life it’s consistency. I tend to burn quickly and brightly and then fade away. I’ve been doing more reading lately, one author in particular, Shauna Niequist, and have been encouraged to keep trying to write. It won’t all be great work, but to me it’s important. She talks about how sometimes the hardest part is making herself sit down, and I can sure relate. I feel like we’re kindred spirits and I am glad to have found her inspiring voice.

I’m also inspired by my friend Jessica Mefford, of Style, Meet Life. She manages to get 3 blog posts A WEEK! Not always, but usually, and she works on being consistent.  I always think of her when another day goes by and I haven’t written. She is juggling a lot, like most women I know, a toddler, a marriage, full-time job, etc., but she manages to write. Thanks to Shauna and Jessica, I really am endeavoring to get my butt in this seat more often.

Speaking of Jessica, if you live in Chicago, it’s not too late to be a part of the first ever Style Swap, happening tomorrow at Heritage Littles! You can buy tickets by clicking here. I’ll be bringing some of my Spring clothes and accessories that no longer fit my personal style and shape and swapping them for clothes other women are bringing. Jessica is providing cocktails and treats while we mingle, and the clothes that don’t get swapped are being donated to Dress for Success! A sweet deal for everyone, and I am so excited to support her and to get some new clothes!


I hope you all have a beautiful weekend, and my butt will be back in this chair on Monday, bringing you a post about one of my sweet brides from last month! Here’s to more writing and less thinking about writing!

Cheers and cheekstain,